Method and apparatus for architectural unit construction

Architectural units having radiused wall corners are constructed with solid surfacing material (SSM) such as Corian. Cove mouldings are formed from SSM sheet strips comprising an elongated cove form flanked by elongated rabbet channels. In a table jig, an SSM wall sheet edge is adhesively secured into one of the cove moulding rabbet channels. The cove mould and wall sheet unit is secured to the desired architectural wall with the other cove moulding rabbet channel mated to an SSM wall sheet edge respective to an adjacent architectural wall. Clamping blocks secured to respective wall sheet and cove mould surfaces by hot melt adhesive are drawn together along the correct vector to adhesively bond the other wall sheet edge into the other rabbet channel.

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The present invention relates to the fabrication of cabinets and architectural enclosures from solid surfacing material.

The term "solid surfacing material" is used by the architectural and habitation construction arts to describe non-foamed, non-laminated polymer-based materials useful for defining and constructing architectural surfaces and elements. These polymer-based solid surfacing materials are typically manufactured substantially of polyester or acrylic resins, alloys and mixtures thereof. Often, natural and/or mineral additives are combined to achieve a desired color or visual pattern in the composite along with fabrication workability and natural feel.

Use of solid surfacing materials began as kitchen and bath countertops due to a combination of mechanical and aesthetic properties including moisture imperviousness, durability, workability, ease of repair, ease of cleaning, ease of sterilization and beauty. Since introduction, use of solid surfacing material has spread to countless other applications such as shower enclosure walls and dressing areas.

Although a few cast or heat formed specialty shapes such as sinks, lavatories and soap dishes have been made available by primary manufacturers of solid surfacing materials in a few of the most popular colors and styles, for the most part the material is only produced in 30 inch by 12 feet sheets and in 1/4 inch, 1/2 inch and 3/4 inch thickness. The widest selection of style and color is available in 1/2 inch thickness with 1/4 inch thickness being the next most available.

Plastic solid surfacing materials are available from several U. S. manufacturers such as E. I. dupont de Nemours & Co., Inc. of Wilmington, Del. 19898 U.S.A., who market their polymer based solid surfacing materials under the trademark of "Corian". "Corian" is a substantially rigid, non-foamed, non-laminated, non-coated solid material composed primarily of acrylic components. "Corian" is most often made and sold in sheet form. U.S. Pat. No. 3,847,865 issued Nov. 12, 1974 to R. B. Duggins and assigned to E. I. dupont de Nemours & Co., teaches one formula for making plastic solid surfacing material of the general nature of that referred to in this description.

Another manufacturer of polymer based solid surfacing material is the Nevamar Corporation located at 8339 Telegraph Rd., Odenton, Md. 21113 U.S.A. The Nevamar Corporation markets their solid surfacing material under the trademark of "Fountainhead". "Fountainhead" is a substantially rigid, non-foamed, non-laminated, non-coated solid material composed of a polymer alloy comprised mostly of polyester components having therein a smaller percentage of acrylic components. "Fountainhead" is most often made and sold in sheet form.

Another manufacturer of polymer based solid surfacing material is the Formica Corporation, located at 155-T Rte. 46, W., CN-980, Wayne, J.J. 07470 U.S.A. The Formica Corporation sells their solid surfacing material under the trademark name of "Surell" "Surell," like "Corian" and "Fountainhead," is a dense solid plastic most often made and sold in sheet form. "Surell" is a substantially rigid, non-foamed, non-laminated, non-coated solid material composed substantially of polyester components.

Du Pont, the Nevamar Corporation, and the Formica Corporation, and several other companies not specifically mentioned, who produce polymer based solid surfacing materials similar to one another, manufacture and sell polymer based solid surfacing materials in sheet form intended for use as walling or countertops, and sometimes make and sell cast or heat-formed shapes made of the same polymer based materials useful as kitchen and bathroom lavatories.

Some of the recognized advantages of using polymer based solid surfacing materials such as "Corian", "Fountainhead" or "Surell" over the available materials such as wood, metal, ceramic tile, and high pressure plastic laminates exists in the fact that the material is a solid, polymeric non-laminated structure in which the color or decorative color patterns extend completely therethrough. If polymer based solid surfacing material does become stained, burned or scratched so deeply that the damage cannot be removed with a common household abrasive cleanser, the damage can be easily removed by light sanding with steel wool or fine sandpaper, and this due to the fact that the material is solid, and the color or visual patterns extend completely therethrough. Furthermore, plastic solid surfacing materials typically have a high tensile strength, are quite hard, dense and rigid, and are resistant to chipping, cracking, splitting, warping, burning, and staining, all of which cannot be said about many other materials which could be used as substitutes therefor.

Another attractive quality associated with polymer based solid surfacing materials such as those sold under the tradenames of "Corian" "Surell" or "Fountainhead" is the ease of adhesive bonding with available colored glues. Additionally, the polymer based sheets can be easily cut to size or otherwise shaped with mechanical material removal methods and tools using sawing and shaping tools such as router bits, power saws and shapers and the like, similar to those used to cut and shape wood.

Polymer based solid surfacing materials such as "Corian" "Surell" or "Fountainhead" may be manufactured at a relatively low price to very closely resemble texture and visually simulate marble, granite, and other natural stone products which have long been desired and used as building materials due to recognition of the durability and beauty of such natural substances.

Due to the significant number of available colors and patterns of solid surfacing material in sheet form, there is a growing demand for larger and more complex architectural units having floor to ceiling walls and wall corners. Moreover, owners increasingly request that the corners be coved and rounded to facilitate sanitation and to appear as if carved and polished from a single monolith i.e. completely seamless.

Prior art methods for fabricating coved inside corners normally include the bonding of a filler strip along the corner and subsequently routing a radius into the filler strip. This method, however, produces a long, feather edge of the filler strip running into an adhesive layer in the plane of the adjacent wall. This process involves utilizing a specialized jig or tool guide for holding the router at a forty-five degree angle to cut the radius. There is little room for error with this procedure, since routing the cover too deep would cut into the wall, and too shallow a cove would require extensive sanding. The installer, therefore, must be highly skilled in this procedure. In addition, the procedure is time consuming, and is, therefore, relatively expensive.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,330,262 to C. R. Peters describes a method of fabricating a coved, countertop backsplash from solid surfacing material wherein the cover fillet seams intersect the respective counter surface planes at substantially Unfortunately, the Peters method is preferably a shop practiced method that is difficult to carry-out on the field job site of an in situ construction.

It is an object of the present invention, therefore, to teach a method of fabricating radiused inside corner walls with solid surfacing material that is suitable for field practice and assembly.

Another object of the present invention is to provide special shapes and mouldings formed from solid surfacing material sheet stock that facilitate seamless joints.

A still further object of the present invention is to provide jigs, clamps and a corresponding assembly method by which a large architectural enclosure such as a bath or shower stall may be fabricated entirely of solid surfacing material without seams or abrupt planar intersections.


These and other objects of the invention are accomplished by a solid surfacing material construction method having special mouldings for transitional shapes that are partially self aligning. Such mouldings are shop milled from stock sheets of solid surfacing material to include rabbet channels along butt joint edges. These rabbet channels are oriented angularly to receive a wall sheeting edge with a radiused cove about the transition. A clamping system is secured to the finish face of the wall sheet and moulding by hot-melt adhesive and aligned to draw the back, inside corner of the moulding rabbet channel against the back, outside corner of the joined wall sheet.

Prepatory to a field assembly, the edge of one wall of an intersecting pair of walls is joined to the respective corner moulding piece that is to transition between the two intersecting walls. This joint is secured in a table fixture for a substantially perfect seam line that is to the surface plane. This seam line will subsequently be sanded and polished to obscurity.

With the corner moulding secured to and finished with one wall of solid surfacing material, the prefabricated wall unit is aligned with and secured to the structural supporting frame.

The cooperatively intersecting wall unit is aligned with its respective structural wall and the other rabbet channel in the moulding edge. Surface adhered clamps draw the respective adhesive coated inside corner of the moulding rabbet against the outside corner of the wall edge to fill and secure the seam.


The present invention may be further understood by reference to the following description and attached drawings which illustrate the preferred invention embodiments and wherein:

FIG. 1 is a partial isometric of a bath tub enclosure.

FIG. 2 is a plan view of a bathroom interior construction.

FIG. 3 is a sectioned view of a shower wall along a coved corner.

FIG. 4 isometrically illustrates a long radius coved corner subassembly jig.

FIG. 5 isometrically illustrates a long radius coved corner subassembly jig.

FIG. 6 isometrically illustrates a short radius coved corner subassembly jig.

FIGS. 7-12 orthographically illustrate in vertical cross-section respective arrangements of the final assembly jig.

FIG. 13 is a cross-sectioned fabrication detail of a long radius cove molding.

FIG. 14 is a cross-sectioned fabrication detail of a long radius cove moulding.

FIG. 15 is a cross-section of a right-hand sill moulding.

FIG. 16 is a cross-section of a left-hand sill moulding.

FIG. 17 is a cross-section of a door casement moulding.

FIG. 18 is a cross-section of a door header moulding.

FIG. 19 is a long radius coved cap moulding.

FIG. 20 is a long radius coved cap moulding.

FIG. 21 is a top plan view of a final assembly jig shoe block.

FIG. 22 is a cross-section of a final assembly jig shoe block.

FIG. 23 is a front elevation of a final assembly jig hinge plate.

FIG. 24 is a cross-section of a final assembly jig hinge plate.

FIG. 25 illustrates an alternative coved corner jig assembly.


As a representative application of the present invention, FIG. 1 partially illustrates a bathtub alcove having a coved inside wall corner. Dashed lines 10 on the drawing represent the approximate locations of edge joints between adjacent units of solid surfacing material (SSM). In this case, a shop fabricated cove moulding 14 is edge jointed to adjacent factory formed planar wall sheets 12. Factory sheets are normally formed to 30 inch.times.12 ft. planar perimeter dimensions and 1/4 inch, 1/2 inch and 3/4 inch thickness dimensions. Wall sheathing applications, as illustrated by this example, are usually served by a sheet that is 1/4 inch thick, 30 inches wide and 98 inches long.

FIG. 2 is an architectural plan of a shower enclosure 20 defined by structural stud walls 22. Inside edges of the studs 22 are sheathed by a moisture resistant wall board 24 which is secured to the stud edges by nails, screws or adhesive. Typically, such wall board is about 1/2 inch thick. Solid surfacing material (SSM) assembly components comprising wall sheets 12, cove mouldings 14 and cove mouldings 16 are adhesively attached to the moisture resistant wall board by structural foam strips 26, as illustrated by the enlarged detail. of FIG. 3, to provide vertical air circulation and expansion spaces 28 between the solid surfacing material and the wall board 24. These polymer sheet strips 26 are usually about 1/4 inch thick and are secured initially to the SSM backside by silicon adhesive.

Joints between adjacent SSM components are secured by color coordinated adhesive. Contiguous edges of adjacent components close to a gap error of preferably no more than 1/64 inch. Excess adhesive squeezed from the joint when assembled is, when cured, milled flush to the SSM face and polished with a finishing abrasive. SSM joints fabricated according to this procedure, known to the trade as a "hardseam", are imperceptible to casual inspection and appear to be materially integral.

The manual effort required to produce such an imperceptible hardseam is greatly reduced by applying a strip of masking tape across the dry assembled joint prior to adhesive application. While assembled dry, the strip of tape bridging the joint is cut with a sharp, thin knife point along the joint. The tape remains on the SSM surface when the joint is assembled with adhesive. As the joined pieces are pulled together and excess adhesive is extruded from the seam, the extruded excess substantially lays over onto the masking tape. After the tape is set but prior to complete cure, the tape is stripped away to carry the excess adhesive bead with it.

Among the several steps essential to the successful construction of such a large, completely hardseamed SSM enclosures as a shower or bath alcove is an accurate milling of the and corner cove mouldings 14 and 16, respectively. Referring to FIG. 12, a cross-section of a cove moulding 14 is shown to be formed within the 1/2 inch thickness t of a standard SSM sheet 11 between opposite surface planes 17 and 19. Although a wide latitude of design discretion is available, one combination of dimensions includes a 11/4 inch cove radius r, turned about an arc a and about 15/8 inch chord C.sub.1. The remaining minimum web thickness W.sub.1 at the greatest depth of the cove arc is about 1/4 to 3/16 inch or the approximate thickness of a 1/4 inch wall sheet. At opposite ends of the arc chord C.sub.1 are rabbet channels 30, each having a longitudinal edge surface 32 and a lap surface 34. A rabbet channel 30 is formed by the stepped intersection of the planes respective to the edge and lap surfaces.

The rabbet channel 30 depth, which corresponds to the edge surface 32 width, is about 1/4 inch or substantially the same as the SSM sheet it is to be joined with. The lap surface 34 width is substantially the same as the edge surface. The lap plate 36 is preferably accorded a material thickness of about 3/32 inch to allow an approximately 5/32 inch expansion space between the wall board 24 and the lap plate 36 backside. See FIG. 3.

FIG. 13 illustrates the construction details of a moulding strip that also is milled from a 1/2 inch SSM sheet thickness. In this case, the arc A.sub.2 is cut to one degree less than the installation arc of A chord C.sub.2 of 2 inches will provide a central web thickness W.sub.2 of about 1/4 to 3/16 inch. The arc A.sub.2 is delineated by rabbet channels 40. The rabbet lap plate 46 is about 3/32 inch thick to allow an approximate 5/32 inch expansion space between the wall board 24 and the lap plate 46 back side. See FIG. 3.

Although relatively large architectural units such as shower and bath alcoves require an in situ final assembly, it is strongly preferred that corner cove mouldings be jig assembled to one adjacent wall sheet prior to final installation as is shown by FIGS. 4 and 5. The cove moulding assembly jig 50 of FIG. 4 is the same jig 50 of FIG. 5 for assembling cove moulding with an accessory strip 59. Basic construction of the cove moulding assembly jig comprises a base plate 52 and a pair of abutment fences 54 and 56. The first fence, hereafter characterized as base a fencing block 54. The second fence is characterized as a cap fencing block 56.

The base plate 52 includes a depressed surface channel 53 of depth below the base plate top surface 60 corresponding to the thickness of the moulding 14 lap plate 36 whereby the lap surface 34 is coplanar with the base plate top surface 60 when the extremity of the opposite moulding lap plate 37 is in contact with the underside of the cap fencing block 56. It should be noted that the moulding backside reference surface 38 is set at to the base plate 52 top surface plane and the inside surface plane 62 of the base fencing block 54.

The wall panel 12 to be joined with the cove moulding 14 is prepared by securing a line of clamping blocks 70 along the wall panel edge at 4 to 6 inch spacings. These blocks 70 are secured rapidly with a minimum volume of hot melt adhesive. Although the clamping blocks 70 are glued to what is to become a finished face of the wall, these blocks are quickly and cleanly removed by a topical application of denatured alcohol followed by a light rap or shock.

Each clamping block 70 is about 11/2 in. .times.11/2 in..times.2 in. long with a beveled backface 72. The bevel angle of backface 72 is set with consideration of the assembly jig 50 dimensions to provide a clampface surface that is substantially parallel with the beveled end face 55 of the jig base plate 52.

So prepared, adhesive is applied to both surfaces 32 and 34 of the moulding 14 rabbet channel 30 and the mating edge surfaces of the wall panel 12 and the components positioned in the jig 50 as illustrated. Immediately, while the adhesive remains fluid and workable which is usually 10 to 15 minutes, clamps 80 are applied between the clamping blocks 70 and the base plate end face 55. Although numerous types and styles of clamps may be used, the cam operated sliding bar type of clamp illustrated has numerous advantages including economy and speed of operation. Such a clamp comprises a bar or beam 82 having an anvil dog 84 and a sliding dog 86. The anvil dog 84 is rigidly secured to the bar 82 as by pins 85.

The sliding dog 86 includes a slot 87 to slidably receive the bar 82 with sufficient clearance to "wedge" into the bar 82 when sufficient torque is applied to the distal end 87 of the sliding dog 86. The sliding dog distal end 87 is split by a kerf 88 to provide a rigid base 90 and a mandible 92 that swings about a hinge section 94. A slot 96 confines a lever engaged cam 98 for rotation about a pin 97. When the lever 98 is rotated about the pin 97, the inside cam face not shown bears against the mandible 92 to load the clamp jaw face 93 into the block 70 and press the lower corner of the wall sheet 12 into the inside corner of the moulding 14 rabbet channel 30 for the interval required to set the adhesive.

When the adhesive has substantially cured, a bead of hardened adhesive that was extruded from the joint line 10 is router trimmed flush with the interior surfaces of the SSM cove 14 and panel 12. Alternatively, the previously applied masking tape is stripped from the joint flanking forces when the adhesive is set but not completely cured. The remaining ridge of adhesive is sanded away by 300 to 600 grit abrasive paper. If correctly prepared and positioned, the width of this joint line 10 is less than 1/64 inch wide along its entire length, completely filled with adhesive material and aesthetically invisible.

Referring to FIG. 5, it is to be noted that the dado channel 58 in the fencing block 54 is filled with the accessory strip 59 to provide a dimensionally controlled abutment surface for the distal edge of one moulding lap plate 47. The other moulding lap plate 46 is disposed along the base plate surface channel 53. The moulding backside reference surface 48 is aligned at to the base plate 52 top surface plane 60. In this alignment, adhesive is applied to the rabbet channel 40 and the adjoining edge of SSM wall panel 12 is positioned along joint line 10 and clamped as previously described with respect to the moulding jig procedure of FIG. 4.

Referring now to FIG. 6, the same assembly jig 50 is again modified to join a short radius cove moulding 15 to a SSM wall panel 12. The lap plates 66 and 67 remain the same dimensionally as the lap plates 36 and 37 of the long radius cove moulding 14. However, the chord distance between the lap plate ends is considerably less due to a smaller cove radius r.sub.1. Correspondingly, the backside reference surface 68 is more narrow than backside 38. In accommodation of these dimensional differences, an auxiliary base fence block 74 and an auxiliary cap fence block 76 are provided to fit within and fill the dimension between the top surface 60 of the jig base plate 52 and the underside of the cap fence block 56. The overhanging bottom ledge surface 77 of auxiliary cap fence block 76 and the face of auxiliary base fence block 74 serve the lap plate abutment function to confine the short radius moulding 15 against the thrust of clamps 80.

Auxiliary base fence block 74 is further modified with a rabbet channel 78 to receive the lap plate of a short radius cove moulding not shown but in the same manner as FIG. 5.

An alternative moulding attachment jig 140 is illustrated by FIG. 25 as fabricated from a metal channel section 142 having a cap flange 144 and a base flange 146. The base flange is set in a dadoed channel 154 and secured by screws 148 with the channel web standing upright, as shown. The depth of dado channel 154 below a supporting table top surface 156 corresponds to the moulding lap plate 46 thickness. In lieu of a dado channel 154 into the surface of a work table, the same objective may be obtained by attachment of the channel base flange 146 directly to the table surface in combination with a spacer sheet of lap plate thickness under the SSM sheet to be adhesively attached to the moulding piece in the jig 140.

To reconfigure the alternative jig 140 to join a moulding with a sheet of SSM, it is only necessary to insert dowel pins 152 into the apertures 150 to provide a structural abutment line corresponding to an accessary strip.

When either or both wall planes of an enclosure are out of "plumb" with respect to a horizontal floor or ceiling plane, the departure from plumb must be measured and accommodated. As an expedient to such measurement, a length of cove moulding appropriate for the subject corner, whether, or other, without the lap plates 36 and 37 but with shims to fill the air expansion space 28 between the moulding backside and the wall board 24, the location of the vertical edges 42a and 42b of the wall panel sheets are marked on the adjacent wall board 24. This may be done with a short length of modified cove moulding used as a gauge at the top and bottom of the wall with the markings linked by a straight line. The resulting line between the top and bottom gauge marks may not be perpendicular to the floor and ceiling, assuming that is desired. In any case, any taper in either of these lines must be transferred to the vertical edges 42a and 42b of the respective wall panels 12a and 12b.

With respect to FIG. 7, a unitized assembly comprising an SSM cove piece 14 and SSM wall panel 12a is aligned on the intended wall structure with the mating SSM wall panel 12b. The unitized SSM assembly, including the polymer foam strips 26a, is permanently secured by silicon adhesive, for example, to the adjacent wall board 24. The silicone adhesive allows 10 to 15 minutes of working time before setting. With the unitized assembly of panel 12a and cove moulding 14 securely in place, the mating edge 42b of the SSM wall panel 12b is marked with the measured taper and cut to a 1/64 inch. fit with the moulding rabbet channel 30b. Next, a shoe block 100 is secured to the unitized assembly by a hot melt adhesive in the same manner as clamping blocks 70 were secured. A cooperative base block assembly 110 is similarly secured along the edge 42b of the unattached wall panel 12b and the foam strips 26b are adhesively applied to the backside of the panel.

A silicone adhesive is applied to the exposed surfaces of the foam strips 26b and the panel 12b is positioned on the wall with the edge 42b aligned to the rabbet channel 30b of the cove moulding 14. The alignment is initially made "dry", meaning that no SSM adhesive is on either of the joint surfaces. When the alignment of edge 42b in channel 30b is of acceptable quality, the silicone adhesive is allowed to complete the setting interval.

With both wall panels 12a and 12b securely positioned, the cove moulding edge of the unitized assembly may be manually deflected against the wall board 24 to expose the edge 42b of the panel 12b. So exposed, SSM adhesive is applied to the appropriate surface portions and the joint permitted to close. The multiplicity of eye bolts 102 anchored by a pin 104 to the shoe block 100 are positioned to bear against a folding anchor plate 112 and by resulting tensile force, secure the two SSM wall elements along the adhesive coated rabbet channel 30 compression juncture.

Referring to FIGS. 21 and 22, a shoe block 100 is seen to comprise an elongated rectangular base of a suitable material such as a solid hardwood or strip of SSM scrap. Although a shoe block 100 may be as long as a moulding element, such continuity is not essential. In most applications, several shoe blocks, each of 2 to 3 feet length, are more conveniently handled and positioned. One elongated corner of the block is shaped to a convenient curvature 101. For example, a curvature of equal or less radius than the short radius cove of moulding 15.

At uniformly spaced increments along the length of the shoe block, slots 103 traversing the block depth from a top face 106 to the base of curvature 101 are cut at uniform increments of, for example, 3 to 6 inches. Fingers 105 of block structure between the slots 103 accommodate a longitudinal bore in receipt of the eye bolt 102 retaining pin 104.

With respect to FIGS. 23 and 24, the base block assembly 110 is seen to comprise the folding anchor plate 112 and the base plate 114 connected by a hinge 116. Similar to shoe block 100, slots 118 delineate structural fingers 117 of about the same width as fingers 105 on the shoe block.

The same jig combination of shoe block 100 and base block 110 is used in several assembly configurations as are represented by FIGS. 8-12. FIG. 8 illustrates the same long radius cove moulding assembly as is shown in greater detail by FIG. 7. FIG. 9 illustrates the jig alignment for a long radius cove moulding 16. FIG. 10 assembles a short radius cove moulding 15 by reversing the shoe block 100 and attaching the shoe block backside 106. Similarly, the reverse turned shoe block 100 backside 106 is also used to assemble the short radius moulding 18 as illustrated by FIG. 11. Additionally, FIG. 12 illustrates the reversed shoe block 100 used to secure a butt joint between two wall panels 12a and 12b in the same plane. In this case, a set of lap fingers 108 and 109 are used to lap the butt joint 107.

As will be noted from FIGS. 8 and 10, some of these assemblies bring the outer surface of shoe block 100 into close proximity with the erected anchor plate 112 of the base block 110. For manual access to the seam line and visual confirmation of the joint quality, it is convenient to fold the anchor plate 112 down against the base plate 114 during the initial joining steps. When the craftsman is satisfied with the joint quality, the anchor plate 112 is raised and the eye bolts 102 laid into the slots 118. The wing nuts 113 are turned on the eye bolt 102 threads into bearing against the fingers 117. In consequence, the joint assembled is subjected to moderately high, uniformly distributed compressive load during the adhesive curing interval for an invisible, razor thin joint line.

The preferred embodiments of my invention have been described relative to and cove mouldings. However, numerous other trim and finish treatments may be fabricated with the same process. FIGS. 15 and 16 respectively illustrate opposite hand turns 120 and 122 of sill moulding that joins with a SSM sheet edge along the rabbet channels 124 and 126. FIG. 17 illustrates a typical door casement moulding 130 having rabbett channels 132 and 134 respective to opposite wall faces. FIG. 18 illustrates a door header 140 that receives a chamfered SSM sheet edge in the round bottom groove 142 along an offset from the surface edge to produce a lip 144.

FIGS. 19 and 20 illustrate cap mouldings respective to and cove moulded walls for a finished terminal on a knee-wall or other exposed wall top edge.

While the preferred embodiments of my invention are described above, it will be appreciated by those of ordinary skill in the art that the invention is capable of numerous modifications, rearrangements and substitutions of parts without departing from the spirit and scope of the appended claims.

As my invention, therefore,


1. A method of constructing an architectural unit of solid surface material (SSM) sheets wherein an elongated intersection of first and second planar sheets of first thickness SSM is transitioned by a radiused corner, said method comprising the steps of:

forming from a third planar sheet of SSM, a radiused, integral moulding piece having a pair of longitudinally stepped edges for receiving edges respective to first and second planar sheets aligned at an included angle therebetween, said stepped edges being linked by a radiused, integrally continuous outer surface that terminates substantially tangently with outer surfaces respective to each of said first and second planar sheets;
positioning said moulding piece in a first assembly jig having a planar support surface for said first planar sheet, a first abutment fence surface substantially normal to said support surface and a second abutment fence surface substantially parallel with said support surface, said first and second fence surfaces being structurally combined to confine said moulding at such position to compressively receive an edge of said first planar sheet into one is of said stepped edges;
positioning said first planar sheet on said support surface with a sheet edge adjacent said one stepped edge and with said moulding piece radiused surface substantially tangent with an outer surface of said first sheet;
adhesively securing said first planar sheet edge to said one stepped edge under a first compressive assembly force to unitize said moulding piece with said first planar sheet along a first hardseam joint; and,
finishing said hardseam joint to a substantial degree of imperceptibility.

2. A method as described by claim 1 wherein said first compressive assembly force to adhesively secure said first planar sheet edge to said stepped edge is applied by clamping means to the outer surface of said first planar sheet.

3. A method as described by claim 2 wherein said clamping means bears against blocking means that is adhesively bonded to said outer surface.

4. A method as described by claim 1 wherein a unitized assembly of said first planar sheet and said moulding piece is secured to an architectural unit first wall with said moulding piece aligned in a corner between first and second walls and a second planar sheet secured to said second wall with an edge of said second planar sheet aligned contiguously with the other of said longitudinally stepped edges and adhesively secured thereto under a second compressive assembly force to unitize said moulding piece with said second planar sheet along a second hardseam joint that may be finished to a substantial degree of imperceptibility.

5. A method as described by claim 4 wherein said second compressive assembly force is applied by clamping means between the outer surfaces of said second planar sheet and said moulding piece.

6. A method as described by claim 5 wherein said clamping means bears against blocking means that is adhesively bonded to said outer surfaces.

7. An elongated moulding formed within an elongated strip of solid surface material (SSM) sheet having parallel inside and outside surfaces, said moulding comprising:

an elongated cove surface formed into the outside surface of an SSM strip about a radius of predetermined arcuate degree turned between the ends of a chord along said outside surface, said radius being turned about an elongated axis center; and, a parallel pair of rabbet channels longitudinally bounding said cove surface having a butt edge that is mutually perpendicular to a lap edge, said butt edge being aligned along a radius from said elongated center and extended from said cove surface.
Referenced Cited
U.S. Patent Documents
2392734 January 1946 Haberstump
2776683 January 1957 Cowley
3044129 July 1962 Bigelow
3222837 December 1965 Daley
3394389 July 1968 Amir
3556508 January 1971 Varga
4049368 September 20, 1977 Grachten
4157819 June 12, 1979 Meyer
4228912 October 21, 1980 Harris et al.
4315390 February 16, 1982 Schaafsma
4718960 January 12, 1988 Pasqualini
4743004 May 10, 1988 Kloss
5001877 March 26, 1991 Edwards
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5463835 November 7, 1995 Wood
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Patent History
Patent number: 5870878
Type: Grant
Filed: May 24, 1996
Date of Patent: Feb 16, 1999
Inventor: Marvin Leroy Swingle (Knoxville, TN)
Primary Examiner: Christopher Kent
Assistant Examiner: Yvonne Horton-Richardson
Law Firm: Luedeka, Neely & Graham, P.C.
Application Number: 8/653,406
Current U.S. Class: 52/74505; 52/2881; Wall Juncture (e.g., Bathtub Surround Kit) (52/35); Arcuate Angle Section (52/277); 312/1404
International Classification: E04B 112;